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The military experience for Abraham Lincoln was quite shallow. In his lifetime, before appointment as the captain, he did not witness any war. In 1832, he volunteered in the Black Hawk War where the natives intended to repossess their native lands in the United States. However, the encounter did not give him any military experience due to the peaceful nature of the battle in most parts. His volunteering efforts emanated from the call by the governor in requesting for his support as well as his desire to resist the oppression caused by the white settlers to the natives. Despite the lack of experience, Abraham Lincoln did not delay in presenting himself to New Salem for his new roles. As the group was formulating command structures, Abraham Lincoln managed to get most of the votes making him the captain of the team.
Abraham Lincoln goes down the history books as a dedicated soldier who valued his men in life and death. In 1832, during the Black Hawk war, Abraham Lincoln arrived at the scene of conflict and found his comrades in a dire state. Most of them were not in any position to move or explain what happened. However, Abraham Lincoln led his team into burying the dead soldiers to the last body (Dickon 33). At the time, the tension in the area was still high. However, he risked his life and that of his men to prove to them that the lives of the massacred members meant a lot to him. In such times when leadership was essential to the team, Abraham Lincoln did not disappoint his team by giving directions in a challenging time for the team.
During the Black Hawk War, a Potawotami wondered into the camp owned by Abraham Lincoln and the team. During the time, the war made the situation very fragile with the soldiers treating any intruder as a spy. The team captured the Potawotami and resolved to kill him. However, in the act of courage, Abraham Lincoln went against his entire team and stopped them from killing the man. At the time, no evidence depicted the man as a spy; therefore, Abraham Lincoln stood his ground and protected him (Jung 267). Thus, Abraham Lincoln was ready to defend his beliefs without any fear or favor. His actions saved an innocent life during a period when he had lost most of his team to the war. However, he made a definitive decision free from emotional attachment and saved the man.
Despite his popular character and courageous actions, Abraham Lincoln exhibited lack of professionalism as a team leader. For example, Abraham Lincoln accepted a challenge at Beardstown from the leader of a rival company. The problem entailed fighting for a spot in the camp. However, he did not have any experience or knowledge in combat. Therefore, he lost substantially to the rival group. The wrestling exposed him to his team as a soldier without experience and military tactics. However, the defeat did not reduce his motivation and desire to lead the team to success. Shortly after the wrestling contest, Abraham Lincoln marshaled up his forces and continued with their daily drills. Abraham Lincoln preferred losing to the rival group instead of opting out of the war as it would jeopardize the confidence the team had in him.
Apart from lack of military skills, Abraham Lincoln demonstrated his inexperience while marching his troops through a gate during the war. When the team reached the entrance while moving in a formation, Abraham Lincoln forgot the precise words to command the group in going through the gate. Therefore, he opted to break the structure and allow them to pass through the gate and go back to their specific lines later. Such instances painted him as someone who was not professional enough to lead the team. Despite the shortcomings, Abraham Lincoln led the team successfully throughout the battle. After his removal from the military, he joined politics and became the president of the country. In the new position, Abraham Lincoln would have the mandate of giving directions to the entire force despite his lack of experience and mistake committed in the previous post as captain (Schwartz and Howard 200).
As the president, Abraham Lincoln joined the forces in the Battle of Fort Stevens. His position in the war risked his life immensely due to his tall stature. His presence in the war was a violation of the protocol set; however, he intended to get first-hand information of the battle for future decisions. The experience helped him in making military appointments despite the strong opposition given by the advisors. For example, he appointed Ulysses Grant as the top general. Abraham Lincoln is famous for motivating his team by making physical appearances at the battleground. In 1861, Abraham Lincoln suspended the law that protected the citizens from imprisonment without a trial. The change was in line with his effort in preserving the country from succession. Citizens from the North intended to thwart the mobilization of people from joining the military.
Abraham Lincoln understood that an active military was paramount to the stability of the country. Therefore, as the commander in chief, he allowed pushed for an end to slavery and incorporation of the same slaves into the military (Goodwin). Here, he demonstrates excellent skills in strengthening the military with any labor present. Therefore, he viewed the riots and disruption of the railway lines as a massive threat to the successful formation of a strong army for the civil war. The imprisonment of over 13,000 persons communicated his great resolve in keeping the country united at all times. Apart from forming a strong army, Abraham Lincoln used his position as the commander in chief to support the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery from the country. For a man without any military experience, Abraham Lincoln played a crucial role in motivating the soldiers and setting an excellent example for them especially at the battlefields.
During the civil war, the threat of succession was extremely high. The battle lasted for four years with the most basic contention being the enslavement of the black people. The confederate states supported the institutions of slavery, which differed from the perception held by those in the North. As the president and the commander in chief, Abraham Lincoln marshaled up his forces to fight the Confederacy states. In the war, more than half a million people died. However, Abraham Lincoln persisted with the war until the surrender of the Southern army in 1865. Despite the extended war, Abraham Lincoln did not give up on the war. He took the loss of lives bitterly but vowed to protect the constitution of the country by ensuring the Southern insurgents did not succeed in their quest. Therefore, he managed to keep the country intact without changing his policies.
There are multiple cases in the military life of Abraham Lincoln where he made serious mistakes and jeopardized his life and that of the other members of the team. As the commander in chief, it was risky for him to enter the war zone and be in the firefight (Lincoln et al. 549). In case of any injury or the worst-case scenario of death, the entire team would lose focus. In such cases, it would be impossible to win the war. In the Black Hawk War, he led the whole group without consultations with the personnel with higher experience. It is possible that the inexperience was the reason behind his late arrival to the scene where the massacre for his team occurred. Experience in the battleground would play a crucial role in sending spies to gather information and using the data collected in fighting to regain the ancestral lands. Despite the loss of lives, the militia did not meet the primary target of the team.
The history of Abraham Lincoln is fascinating. He moves from a militia fighting the army of the country to the commander in chief. During the Black Hawk War, Abraham Lincoln faced demotion from captain to a service member. However, it is worth noting that the demotion did not discourage him from performing his duties effectively. Therefore, his whole life represents a man who uses a position without experience to get the best out of every situation. Instead of delegating tasks, Abraham Lincoln believed in getting into the war zone and motivating the soldiers from the ground. Therefore, it is safe to say that he achieved great military power, kept the country united and ended slavery from his position as the commander in chief. However, he risked his life on many occasions as he interacted with the soldiers in war.
Dickon, Chris. The Foreign Burial of American War Dead : a History. Jefferson: McFarland & Co., Publishers, 2011. Print.
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of rivals: The political genius of Abraham Lincoln. Penguin UK, 2009.
Jung, Patrick J. The Black Hawk War of 1832. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008. Print.
Lincoln, Abraham, et al. The collected works of Abraham Lincoln. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 2008. Print.
Schwartz, Barry, and Howard Schuman. "History, commemoration, and belief: Abraham Lincoln in American memory, 1945-2001."American Sociological Review 70.2 (2005): 183-203.
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